The Catholic outreach program for homosexuals, Courage, has done magnificent work seeking to help homosexuals abide by the Church’s teachings on sexuality. Instead of being congratulated for its work, left-wing activists and militant gays have condemned it. Their latest attack is a petition demanding that Chicago Archbishop Francis Cardinal George cancel his plans to say Mass on Friday at the Courage Conference. The petition drive has failed: Cardinal George will not cancel his plans.
Critics of the conference are contending that Courage is seeking to persuade Catholic homosexuals to seek therapy, the purpose of which is to convert them to heterosexuality. The charge is patently false. I had the pleasure of knowing Father John Harvey, who spearheaded Courage for many years; he died in 2010. I also know, and hold in high regard, the other co-founder of Courage, Father Benedict Groeschel. Together, they did more to help Catholic homosexuals than any gay group in the nation.
Courage is not some renegade Catholic group like Dignity: it is an apostolate of the Catholic Church that has won the praise of Pope John Paul II and many others. Its goal is to “help persons with same-sex attractions develop a life of interior chastity in union with Christ.” It does not implore its members to seek gay-conversion therapy, and indeed it does not provide therapy to its members.
Even if Courage did push such therapy, what business is it of outsiders to tell it what to do? And what exactly are they afraid of? Moreover, whatever happened to their much-vaunted virtue, namely “choice”?
People for the American Way is particularly upset that Father Paul Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is speaking at the Courage Conference. We’re delighted he is. Too bad it won’t be carried on C-SPAN.